My girlfriend dropped a bomb on me this weekend. She’s not the type to drop bombs. In two years of being together, I’ve never once been pressured to put a ring on it and the idea of babies anytime in the next five years makes her react violently, so this bomb was rare but intense, despite the fact that it came up so nonchalantly. I had just woken from a very satisfying Sunday nap and she looked at me casually and said the worst thing possible: “I think I’m going vegan.”
I suppose it shouldn’t have been much of a shock considering she works at a vegan café and just got a new job at a macrobiotic bistro, but still. “I think I’m going vegan” is a sentence no man should ever have to hear. I tried to convince her that it wasn’t possible. “You can’t just become vegan. Didn’t you hear the Lady Gaga song? You have to be born that way.” She wasn’t buying it. Apparently I had confused being vegan with… something else. I did everything I could to make a case for meat. “Aren’t you going to miss eating steak?” I asked, sure that she wouldn’t be able to give up our special occasion dinners at Mastro’s. No. She won’t miss it at all. It turns out that she never really liked steak that much anyway.
I soldiered on in the service of carnivores. “What about chicken???” My lady has eaten chicken at least once a day for the entirety of our relationship. There was no way she was giving up chicken. “No chicken.” I was floored. Apparently “Skinny Bitch” and “Food Inc.” and all the other food propaganda had wormed their way into her head and convinced her that – gasp! – meat was murder. Or something like that. She said something about rotting flesh. I tuned it out so it wouldn’t sully my own enjoyment of our dominion over animals. If there’s one thing I know, it’s that listening to vegans can be hazardous to your meat-eating.
In truth, I have no problem with vegans. I have plenty of vegan friends, honest. I just didn’t know I’d ever have to deal with a vegan in my own home. The problem that I have is that I like to cook. A lot. Cooking dinner for the two of us had always been one of my great pleasures, despite the fact that I had to cut out dairy from most of it (she’s been non-dairy since we met). Now I can’t make her pot roasts or roast chicken or even the turkey meatballs that she loves so much. I’m back to cooking for one and I’m not happy about it. One and half, really. She’ll still eat my side dishes, I suppose, as long as they’re meat-free.
Can I really be with someone who doesn’t eat meat? I hope so. There are too many other great things in our lives for this to be a meat wedge between us. I’ve already come to terms with the fact that she doesn’t geek out on food like I do. I guess this is just an extra extension of that divide. Am I worried that this is going to be a bigger deal than I anticipate? Absolutely. Most of all, though, I’m just worried that going vegan is contagious.
OK, vegans, here’s your chance to help out Heart Attack’s wistful columnist; what vegan dishes can he prepare for his girlfriend that he’ll enjoy eating too. Sound off in the comments.